Adm. Charles Richard, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said it has become imperative for the United States to have the capability to defend against Russia and China at the same time.
“Today, we face two nuclear-capable near-peers who have the capability to unilaterally escalate a conflict to any level of violence in any domain worldwide, with any instrument of national power, and that is historically significant,” Richard told the House Armed Services Committee on March 1.
He pointed out that while the need to deter both China and Russia at the same time was only at the level of major concern in April last year, the concern “has now become a reality.”
“That need is now an imperative.”
In April 2021, he told lawmakers at another congressional hearing (pdf) that the United States for the first time in history was “on a trajectory to face two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time.”
Months later, he said the United States was “witnessing a strategic breakout by China,” adding that the Chinese regime’s “explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces” was “breathtaking.”
“Last fall, I formally reported to the secretary of defense, the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] strategic breakout,” Richard said. “Their expansion and modernization in 2021 alone is breathtaking.”